Project Brewery Part 1
6 months ago I wrote a blog post setting out our aims and goals for 2017. We’re now 5 whole months in. So where have we got too? Well we’ve spent a lot of money, and we’ve not got any kit to show for it! So a pretty poor start on the face of it, but scratch below the surface and it looks a little rosier.
4 weeks ago we placed the deposits on all our equipment that is going to become our brewery. The economics of buying a brewery are a little painful cash flow wise, and as we have decided to buy new it becomes even more painful. Stainless steel is a pretty good investment. It doesn't depreciate hugely (if you look after the kit!) and is pretty easily resellable. But as it needs fabricated all brewery builders ask for a pretty hefty deposit up front (in our case a mix of 30% and 40% as we’ve bought from 3 different suppliers) before they will commence fabrication. 12 weeks later our kit will arrive….we hope! We’ve gone with suppliers we know, and suppliers that have worked with people we know. So we have a fair confidence that the kit we are going to receive in exchange for our hard earned is actually what they say it is going to be, and that it will arrive on time.
So, what have we bought?
Brewhouse and 2 x FV’s =
Mash Tun, Kettle, Hot Liquor Tank, Cold Liquor Tank
All associated stainless steel pipework, pumps and heat exchanges
What size: 2000L working capacity
2 x Dish Bottom (10 degree cone) FV’s
What size: 2500L
Who we bought it from: Elite Stainless (www.esfabrications.co.uk)
What it cost: £42000 ex vat
Why we chose these folks: We brewed a collab with the superstars down at Verdant in February, and they bought their whole brewery from Elite last year. We were able to gain a great deal of confidence in the quality of the equipment and Elites ability to deliver on time and on budget.
4 x 70 Degree Cone Dual Purpose Vessels
Who we bought them from: Malrex Fabrications (www.malrexfabrication.co.uk)
What they cost: £41000 ex vat
Why we chose these vessels: We invested into these vessels and paid a premium for them to allow us to both ferment and condition in the same tank (our dish bottom FV’s from Elite will mainly be used for cask and for primary fermentation of our sour beers). The steep cones will allow us to both crop our own yeast and heavily dry hop while saving on wastage. These vessels are top of the range and will last us a lifetime.
Why we chose these folks: Jon at Arbor Ales has been using Malex for years and speaks really highly of them. We’ve brewed on Arbors kit many times and love the quality.
Bottling Line -
IC Filling 662 Bottling Line
Who we bought it from: IC Filling (www.icfillingsystems.com)
What it cost us: £32000
Why we chose this line: On our budget we had a choice of either this line or a Meheen (the same line Cloudwater used until they recently replaced with their canning line). They were really the only viable options that allowed the quality and speed. We chose the IC primarily because our friends over at Lost and Grounded have one and have spoken very highly of it. From all angles, extremely low dissolved oxygen levels, consistency of use and speed of use, we hope this bit of kit will allow us to really commit to our stubbies and get them out to the wider world on a consistent basis.
1200L Ex Chanti Foudre with full drainage system and RJT Fittings
Who we bought it from: Garbellotto (www.garbellotto.com)
What it cost us: £2000
Why we chose these folks: Honestly, they were one of the very very few foudre suppliers I could find. After a lot of research (hunting google!) I found these guys. Along with a few other suppliers who were horrifically expensive these seemed like the best option. As they are new to us and we don’t not have a reference we have bought 1 second hand Foudre and are awaiting delivery to check quality of product and service. If all is good we will go back and buy 2 x new and 1 more second hand ex wine.
And that’s it! Delivery is expected in the 3rd week of July for all equipment. £50000 ex vat lighter (we have to pay vat and wait to claim it back) with bills due on delivery of a further £65000. How have we paid for it? Well, that’s another blog post! In the meantime we are organising the warehouse in preparation for the brewery to arrive. New drained floor, electrics, planning permissions, brewery license amendment, new premises license application for tap room..the list goes on! My intention is to write a series of blogs in the coming weeks detailing the costs, suppliers and financials of all parts of the process. I hope you enjoy them!